How Will Child Custody be Affected by A Parent’s Relocation?

A divorced parent in Utah who is planning to relocate is obligated by law to notify the other parent of the proposed move under certain circumstances. According to the applicable Utah statute, relocation is defined as moving 150 or more miles away from the other parent’s home. The parent who is planning to move has to provide written notice of this to the other parent. The written notice should affirm that neither parent will interfere with the other’s parental rights and that the parents will follow the existing custody agreement or create a new schedule.

Once the other parent has received the notification, either parent has the right to file a motion to schedule a hearing to have the custody or visitation schedule and relocation plans reviewed. If a hearing is scheduled, the court will evaluate the relocation plans to determine whether it is in the child’s best interests. In addition, the court will consider other relevant factors such as additional difficulties and costs in regard to parenting time and the reason for the relocation.

If there is a major change on the horizon, such as a move, a change in the child’s school or an expected medical event or procedure, a lawyer may explain a parent’s legal obligations. In the event that the current child custody agreement needs modification, a lawyer might help negotiate a new arrangement with the other parent.

As long as both parents agree to a new arrangement, the court is likely to support it, as long as it is in the best interest of the child or children. A lawyer may also provide legal representation at the court hearing to modify a current child custody agreement if the parents are unable to reach an accord.

Source: Utah Code, “Section 30-3-37 Relocation”, accessed on Jan. 12, 2015

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